Climate Change and Health

When discussing climate change, we are often presented with charts and maps such as this showing surface temperature changes over time. What these graphics do not depict well is how these changes could affect human health and well being. The health risks of climate change include:

Increasing frequency, severity, and duration of heat waves leading to more heat-related illnesses and deaths.

Increasing frequency and severity of many extreme weather and climate events that can cause injuries, deaths, illnesses, displacement, and effects on mental health.

Increasing flooding events and sea level rise that can contaminate water with harmful pathogens and chemicals, potentially causing foodborne and waterborne illnesses.

Changes in the geographic range of disease-carrying insects, such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, that can transmit West Nile Virus, dengue fever, Lyme disease, and malaria to humans.

Increasing exposure to pollen, molds, and air pollution, all of which can worsen allergies and other lung diseases, such as asthma.

Increasing temperatures are causing poor air quality that can affect the heart and worsen cardiovascular disease.

Changing weather patterns are affecting the quality and quantity of nutritious food, affecting the numbers of people experiencing undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.

Additional stress placed on hospital and public health systems, limiting people's ability to obtain adequate health care during extreme weather events and disease outbreaks.